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  • Andy has 4 apples, and then eats 2. How many does he have left?
  • Beth drives for 3 hours at 80 km/h. How far did she go?
  • Carl, Debbie and Earl earned $30 together shoveling driveways. How much does each of them get?

Is there a name for this sort of 'simplest possible' word problem?

Is there any well-defined classification or hierarchy of such problems?

For example, the third on my list requires the pre-processing step of recognizing group of three entrepreneurs before doing the division, which adds a degree of difficulty.

It seems to me that such a classification system might be pedagogically useful, but I don't know whether one exists or is widely accepted.

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    $\begingroup$ The third problem also hides the implicit assumption that they all earn the same amount, which really should be stated explicitly. (At least, I'm guessing that's supposed to be assumed, since otherwise there isn't a unique solution.) $\endgroup$ – Daniel Hast Jan 7 '15 at 19:45
  • $\begingroup$ See my comment here for related material. $\endgroup$ – Benjamin Dickman Jan 7 '15 at 20:12
  • $\begingroup$ @BenjaminDickman, Yes, that's certainly in the right direction. Thanks. $\endgroup$ – NiloCK Jan 8 '15 at 23:54
  • $\begingroup$ The name of these word problems is one-step problems. $\endgroup$ – Amy B Jun 23 '15 at 2:57
  • $\begingroup$ old joke: "If there are 3 apples and you take 2, how many do you have?" $\endgroup$ – Mike Jones Oct 8 '15 at 18:47

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